Here on week forty seven of this grand research project, as I’m studying the research going on at the University of Washington in Seattle, I find out about an important aspect about the research that goes on around the country. It’s called “dual use research” and here is how it is described by the US government:
Despite its value and benefits, certain types of research conducted for legitimate purposes can be utilized for both benevolent and harmful purposes. Such research is called “dual use research.” Dual use research of concern is a subset of dual use research defined as: “life sciences research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety, agricultural crops and other plants, animals, the environment, materiel, or national security.” The United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern articulates the practices and procedures required to ensure that dual use research of concern is identified at the institutional level and risk mitigation measures are implemented as necessary.
Viruses, of course, are a major threat to public and private health. It appears the University of Washington is at the forefront in the fight against viruses as the following reports indicate.
Two large clinical trials have found that a microbicide prevention method can safely help reduce new HIV infections in women.
A small protein molecule, engineered through computer design, protects against diverse strains of influenza in mice. Its preventive and therapeutic power does not depend on the animals’ own immune response to viral infection.
Research from UW Medicine and collaborators indicates that a drug-like molecule can activate innate immunity and induce genes to control infection in a range of RNA viruses, including West Nile, dengue, hepatitis C, influenza A, respiratory syncytial, Nipah, Lassa and Ebola.
I guess the cherry blossoms in the state of Washington rival those of our nation’s capital.